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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 16, 2015 5:00pm-5:31pm EST

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want to protest the mistrial today. you're looking at the freddie gray's family. >> the hung jury is not unusual. approximately 5% of all criminal cases tried in the country result in hung jurors. killed. when we speak to the media, we find that there have been multiple fatalities. this the first time that this came under attack by isil. >> the state will be seeking a new trial on behalf of th mr. porter. sometimes the second trial results in a conviction, and sometimes it results in
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acquittal. i join the family in commending the hard work that this jury brought in, the sac sacrifice to be away from their families and employment. i have every confidence that the justice system will work a second time. [ inaudible question ] >> i'm not going to second guess the prosecution, i'm not going to second guess the defense. but i don't buy the nonsense that this is a victory for either side. it's not. it's just a bump on the road to just. the road to jus justice has lots of bumps. [ inaudible question ] >> it should not be viewed as an indication that it may be heard
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to reach a verdict either in this case or in any of the future cases because the record of the criminal justice system says otherwise. again, most hung juries get retried. and most who get retried are usually 70% or so in favor of conviction, about. >> let's witch back to the mayor of baltimore, who is speaking with the police. >> what you have signaled. >> i would say that baltimore city is prepared. i think in efforts for some of your pierr pie your pierres
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that everybody is on age. we're prepared to what happened, and what you're a he seeing today bears that out. [ inaudible question ] >> we're not going to get into the exact numbers, but there are enough people here law enforcement and public safety to serve as peace keepers to protect this great city. >> the officers play a role. the rolls are different, and our partnerships with them continue. the community is the biggest party as we move forward in the days.
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>> if we into have a need to hold any additional press conferences, we'll hold them, for people from outside of town it will be announced on our baltimore police twitter handle. thank you very much. appreciate it. >> all right, the communications director for the baltimore police department noting that updates will be provided. they're trying to urge calm in baltimore in the wake of this mistrial declared earlier this afternoon. and some of the calm may come as a result of the attorney that we heard from the freddie gray family commending the jury, saying that he was pleased that the state has decided to go ahead and try officer porter for a second time. the attorney said that this is a bump on the road with justice and the justice is filled with many bumps, and they said that this is not a victory for either side. the news, and there you see the attorney for freddie gray continuing, the news that the
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jury comprised of 12 people, seven black, five white members on this jury. they could not reach a verdict of either guilty or not guilty. they were hung after three days of deliberations. the state has decided to try this case again. and freddi the attorney for freddie gray's family continues to speak with the media. let's glitch you know now that that does not mean anything about the future. no one should take away anything other than this jury trial, and could not get the job done even though they worked hard, and even though they worked in good faith, and even though they represent a cross section of the community. >> now we have a mistrial, they couldn't agree, does that confirm that it's tough to get a jury to reach a verdict in baltimore city? >> no, the mistrial doesn't mean that it's going to be tough to
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get a verdict in baltimore city. it simply means that this group of 12 people could not reach a verdict in baltimore city. >> you don't they think should move the next one? >> no, there is no reason to move the trial. the judge corrected decided that a fair and impartial jury could be picked, and one was picked. the judge has spoken, and we should respect his decision. >> thank you. >> if you fake a gentleman and police him in cuffs and put him in a paddy wagon, would he get a rough ride or would he come up with a broken spine or would he come out with a broken shoulder? >> i don't think that would be fair for me to comment on that and give an answer to that
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question. because every needs to be calm. this is a great city. it didn't great for everybody, but i'd rather die and go to hell rather than not continue to try to make this city great. we're trying to make this city a great place for everybody to live in. hot heads need to stand down because it's not your time. we all have a stake in seeing businesses continue to stay open, the city is vie atlanta and healthy and life goes on for the 99% of citizens who had nothing to do with what happened, and who want to go ahead with their lives. >> thank you. >> billy murphy, attorney for the family of freddie gray, he said that the hot heads need to stand down, that this is not your time. that everybody needs to remain calm. and again, this is in the wake of the news that the jury in the first of what is expected to be
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six different police officers put on trial in the death of freddie gray. the jury in this particular case was not able to reach a verdict, so the judge declared a mistrial and the state prosecutor has announced that they will trial officer porter yet again. this first trial is significant because it is essentially the building block for five other trials that are yet to come. there is obviously going to be frustration and disappointment among certain quarters in the city of baltimore. al jazeera's john terrett is live in baltimore. first of all, what are you detecting? what is the mood right now? >> well, almost immediately the decision was announced on the local radio decision protesters came to the streets. it was a small peaceful protest for the majority of the day, but it could be swelled to a much larger side although not the kind of protest we saw last april. this was immediately outside of the doors of the courthouse just behind the city hall building. they were very loud and very
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vocal. there have been some arrests in baltimore. protesters were battling with cher riffs who were trying to stop them from entering the building. that was closing for the night. >> people are chanting very loud but also very peaceful. over head you might hear helicopters buzzing around like flies in the air keeping an eye on the situation, but my sense of it at the moment, and of course things could change because this often do, my sense at the moment is that the words from the likes of billy murphy, who you saw in that extraordinary interview that we just broadcast, he said he was speaking with the gray family, he thanked the jury for their service and the time they put in and respected the decision they had come to. they're looking forward to a second trial, and also as billy
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murphy said there are many bumps in the road to justice, and people should not panic. they should wait and see what happens next. so the mood at the moment is that the initial shock of what happened among those who those who wish to see officer porter punished beyond the fact that he's being tried has dissipated a little bit. there is no sign right now of the protesters, but of course, we're just going to have to waitancy as the evening goes on. but mollifying words from the mayor, and the interim police commissioner kevin davis. he said that peaceful protesters have a friend in baltimore police. quite interesting. >> we're looking at city hall and we're also looking at an aerial picture. there were protesters who tried to get in to city hall and were blocked. in the aerial picture we can see
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some of the police officers ringing the building. i want der if you can elaborate on that just a bit. >> the way you see me standing at the moment is a place at war memorial plaza. earlier today when news came down at about ten to 3:00 there was a mistrial. at that point--i was inside so i could not see them, and i know--because i've been told there was a small protest of people with banners occasionally being very loud. then protesters came out from almost nowhere, and they started to block the streets, the traffic could not get through, and the sheriff's departments who managed the court buildings were outside. they managed a couple of arrests, one man was arrested because he was screaming at the top of his lungs, that was not
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allowed. he was arrested and dragged away. it looked rather nasty for a few minutes. there was chanting and screaming. but to be fair things died down a little bit, and then the traffic got going a little bit. as i explained the protesters funneled down closer to where i am at the moment. i scene as i understand it at the moment is uneasy calm with protesters not happy about what had happened. but i think its dawning on them now as they listen to the likes of billy murphy and the mayor that this was a mistrial of officer porter, number one. there will now be a second trial. the state is determine to try officer porter again. and tomorrow, judge barry williams will meet in council with the attorneys, and they will meet primarily to discuss a new date for the trial of officer william porter. what is so interesting, and what
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we don't know at this date is the driver of the police wagon on that day, and that's due to is that right january 6th. we have christmas, new year close now, and then january 6th will be a quick turn around. i don't think they'll be able to slot the officer porter trial in before the second one starts, so i'm guessing, and this is a pure guess, i do not know, but they'll have to schedule the retrial of officer porter at the end of the sequence of now five trials coming up. i don't know, i'm speculating. we're all speculating. it's the question of the moment. >> al jazeera's john terrett reporting live from baltimore. we'll continue to check in with john and monster whatever reaction there is on the streets of baltimore. joining us now from washington, d.c. is debby hines. she's former baltimore city prosecutor. debby, just to put this in context, officer porter was charged with indangerment,
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failing to call for a medic and for not buckling mr. gray into a police transport van. based on these charges and these allegations what do you make of the hung jury? >> well, you know, it was a very difficult case for the prosecution. it's always been a difficult case for the prosecution. the reason is that improving in this case they had to prove in action. and in most manslaughter cases you're proving an action that that someone did. in this case they had to prove that he failed to have his feet down and he failed to call the hospital and medic for mr. gray. that just made the matter an uphill battle for the prosecution. >> the failure to take certain actions as opposed to taking direct action that you could say led to his death. given that uphill climb as you described it, that does not change in a second effort to try
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mr. porter, what do you do with the decision to move forward with a second trial? >> oh, trying a second case with another jury you just never know what will happen. i think that one of the problems might have been in this particular case, and did i sit in on a fair amount of the case, but in this case you had seven black jurors and five white jurors. as we know the way black americans see the police and their actions is quite different than many white americans see. the jury could have hung just on the make up of the jury. that we don't know really for sure. but trying it before a different jury does not mean that you'll get the same outcome as you did before. >> there has been a lot of discussion and analysis about what it means to these subsequent officers and their trials given that the prosecution failed to get a verdict, and failed to get a conviction in this one. based on the testimony you have heard this far how important is it in this case of officer
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porter in terms of helping prosecutors build against the rest? >> you know, it's very interesting. in officer porter's case and what what officer porter and his witnesses said, everything was the responsibility of the van driver. they put everything on the responsibility of the van driver. we don't really know coming forward if in fact, that the prosecution is going to ask to delay the van driver's trial so they can retry officer porter or if they'll go straight to the van driver's case. >> what do you recommend? >> i think they should basically move forward with the van driver. he's the most culpable person in the chain of command. of course we have officer porter who was there to assist the van driver who did not seat belt mr. gray. but i do think that the van driver is the one that the jury can look to see that actually caused the incident in terms of
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driving the van. >> is it possible that the jury in this particular case, and officer porter was african-american, he was not the driver. he was simply called in and refused to call the paramedic. is it possible that the jurors said maybe prosecutors are going after the wrong person here? that the prosecution might have had better luck going after the van driver as opposed trying to go after a guy who failed to call a paramedic? >> well, i don't think that the prosecution did anything wrong in this case. i think they correctly are proceeding on the six officers that were involved in the death of freddie gray. and here's the reason why. the van driver, he may have been driving the van. he doesn't take all responsibility. that's what the prosecution tried to say. this is a shared responsibility case. i mean, mr. officer porter mr. william porter had many opportunities to do the right thing with respect to freddie gray. where he did come in, he did
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assist him and pu picked him up off the floor. how difficult would it have been for him to put him in a seat belt. mr. gray did say he wanted to go to the hospital. that is in dispute, but why would he have gotten on his phone and called for mr. gray to go to the hospital. >> we keep seeing pictures of officer porter in the yellow tie walking in to the courthouse with his lawyer. generally when as a former city prosecutor what is the greatest challenge when you retry a case of this nature for a second time? >> oh, my god, they do not get better the second go around. as a matter of fact, that's the problem with the retrial and hung jury. you already have testimony in. witnesses have already been sworn. they've already stated things. it just doesn't get any easier. make no mistake even though the first trial was a difficult
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trial, the second trial is really going to be even more difficult than the first trial. >> and finally, debby, do you have any sense given your sense and connections and contacts in baltimore how this hung jury will go over on the streets of baltimore? >> oh god. i know there will be protests and i expected protests. i am hoping for peaceful protesting. citizens do have a right to the first amendment, butty we'll see what we saw in april. there is a good side. we know there are five other officers, plus the retrial of officer porter. sometimes justice is not as quick as we want it to be. sometimes it is delayed. this is not the only officer involved. people can protest, but they should do it peacefully knowing that we still have justice coming forward. >> debby hines, former baltimore city prosecutor. thank you for joining us.
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we'll get through to some of the extraordinary efforts and statements that the mayor made today to soothe tensions and calm people on the streets who may be disappointed. we'll look at that and the likelihood of baltimore staying calm tonight. that's on the other side of this break. thank you for watching al jazeera america. >> this is one of the most important sites in the century. >> this linked the mafia and the church. >> why do you think you didn't get the medal of honor? >> i can't allow you not to go into that because that is your job. >> we gonna bring this city back one note at a time. >> proudest moment in my life.
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>> it some choose to protest, they must peacefully demonstrate. that is their right.
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but i also want to be very, very clear about an potential disturbances in our city. we are prepared to response. we will protect our residents. we will protect our neighborhoods. our businesses. and we will protect the safety of our first responders. >> that was the mayor of baltimore within the past half hour drawing a clear distinction between the protest which she said she supports in the wake of this freddie draw trial, and violence that a lot of people in baltimore fear from what the gray family attorney termed as hot heads. here is the police chief earlier saying that the police are friends of those who want to protest in baltimore, but also urging everybody to remain calm. >> folks who choose to commit crimes, hurt people, break things and harm people are no longer protesters. you lose your ability to call
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yourself a protester when you choose to harm people and destroy property. so i think that's something that we've spoken about a few months now. i believe the vast majority of folks, quite frankly, understand that very, very well. >> joining us on the phone is a civil rights and criminal attorney, kurt, always great to have you on. this idea of a mistrial that the jury could not reach a verdict that the state is going to try the officer a second time. from your experience do the people in the public, the protesters, do they seem to be able to understand and follow that? or is there an initial anger reaction that people have to be worried about? >> i think that there are probably two different reactions. there are some people who are going to feel so much pent up anger and so much looking for a conviction that anything short of a conviction may set them up. i think we're hopeful that people will recognize this is not an acquittal, and this officer is going to be retried,
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and justice in the end will be done. >> what do you make of the extraordinary statements of the police chief made. he sounded nervous when he said that the protesters have a friend in the baltimore police department, and then the attorney for freddie gray's family, he said that this was just a bump in the process and everybody needs to stay calm. what do you make of those comments? >> i think the police have got to allow the community to let off steam. they have got to let people protest and express their rights, but the people of baltimore have a right not to have their city torn apart. to walk that fine line is going to be very difficult. i hope they continue to remind people this case is not over. >> are you surprised all that the state prosecutor announced that they would and decided very
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quickly with literally a short time after the jury announced that they were hung that the state prosecutor said they would move forward, any surprise there? >> absolutely not. they're fully committed to bring these cases all the way through to a verdict. this was an extraordinarily economy kateed cas--complicated case for the prosecution. there were no witnesses that saw the fatal blow that brought mr. gray's eventual death. they said that there was gross negligence that led to the manslaughter conviction. the defense is saying that the blow happened much later and there was nothing that this officer could have done. that's a set of competing facts for a jury to decipher. >> we heard from our last guest that it is difficult to charge
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somebody with inaction as opposed to charging them with a specific action that may have led to a person's death. you know what, we'll have to talk about that with you at another time. the news is if you just joined us or if you joined us late is that the jury was not able to reach a verdict in the trial of officer william porter, the first of six police officers facing criminal charges as a result of freddie gray who died last april from a broken neck after he was put in the back of a police van. six officers on trial. the first officer to be tried will be retried. i'm david shuster, thank you for joining us.
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>> in 1978, joseph sledge was convicted of murder in north carolina. >> they made me the scapegoat because they had no one to blame. >> at his trial, an fbi scientist testified that hairs found at the crime scene were 'microscopically alike' to joseph's. just months ago, joseph was released from prison, after serving almost forty years behind bars. dna testing had proved the hairs were not his. >> here's the hair from the defendant. here's the hair from the crime scene. i'm looking at them under the microscope and they have enough characteristics where i can say


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